National Healthcare Decision Day offers chance to plan ahead


Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, Island Hospice, the Vineyard Nursing Association, and Grace Episcopal Church will join other national, state and community organizations in an effort to highlight the importance of advance health care decision-making on April 16, formally designated as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

The public is invited to the doctors’ wing of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital from 9 am to 3 pm on Friday, April 16, when representatives of the participating organizations will provide free information about advance care planning and advance directive forms. A workshop introduced by Nell Coogan from the law offices of Edmund G. Coogan will be held in the Windemere large dining room at 1 pm. The focus will be on completing advance directives with professional support and explanations of their importance.

“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their health care decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Polly Brown, a member of the hospital ethics committee. “Fewer families and health care providers will have to struggle with making difficult health care decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient, and health care providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance health care planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”